I’m Trying to Become Unstuck or Read Y: The Last Man Right Now

11 Aug

I’m going to pretend like it hasn’t been 8 months since the last time I wrote a post.

Here’s a picture of Geoff!

I had a huge post written ready to post a few weeks ago, but it was too negative, and I hated it. So, in short: this year has been really, really hard. I thought that moving somewhere new and totally awesome would make most of the cobwebs keeping me stuck, go away. But they didn’t, and instead I’m left with a head full of even more spiders. I know that so much of this uphill battle is just growing up and getting older. You’re going to have to deal with bills, and sickness, and people you love not being there anymore your whole life. But it’s not always so heavy, right? Or is that just wishful thinking? IDK DUDE. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Chicago is beautiful, I have the best job nannying 3 sweetie girls (4,3, and 10 months ahhh), but sometimes I get sad, and that’s okay.

In other news, I read at an open mic poetry reading back in July, and it was my first time reading without any of my fellow Chickz or really anyone I knew for that matter. Continue reading

EVERYONE PLUG YOUR EARS > Feminism!

18 Jul

He said:

that girl has a chip on her shoulder–

a goddamn brick on her shoulder.

She’s a with-holder, she roll

like a boulder,

a freight train,

a bed stain .

It’s like she got caught in the rain

or acid. We can see she’s rancid.

She’s unchecked.

She’s a list. She’s in a mother fucking tryst

with power. She’ll devour

your metaphysical, your reciprocal

heart beat. She’ll start beatin’

you at your own game, has been

for too long—you mad bro? You

gonna slap a hoe? Get a hold on.

Yeah get a grip. She’s not a bitch.

She’s a mother fucking

feminist.

PHEW: You mad, bro?

Well, you shouldn’t be. As a feminist woman I’m not trying to usurp your power. I’m not trying to say I’m better than you. I don’t want your pants. Keep em. I hate Levi’s. But, what I do want is equality. I want recognition if I work equally as hard for a job I am just as qualified for. I’m not asking you to slam doors in my face, rather than hold them open and trample my dignity. I’m asking you to hold open a door for yourself, for your dude friends, for the crazy cat aunt we’ve all got. And, while you’re busy doing that. I’ll hold the door for your brother, you dad, your mother. I’ll walk your grandma across the street. I see feminism as equal opportunity kindness. I see it as feet free of the ratty slippers called gender. I see it as asking questions. I see it as engendering more questions. I see it as exploration. I don’t see it as defamation.

I don’t want to de-masculinize you. So stop crying about it on the internet.

The other day, I was at a bar with my friend, Zorn, and our other friend’s mom. The stomping grounds were quiet, so we birthed bloody into the night a raging debate about gender. Only, it took us a while to realize we were on the same side. Zorn—a pretty unique dude, rat prince, runaway, the wiser the better—was trying to explain that mine and Bea’s (the mom) examples of “anti-feminist” behaviors were essentialist and conversely anti-masculine. Initially, I didn’t understand. I was all bent out of shape because I dig that boy and I thought he was trying to tell me that my experiences weren’t legitimate. Also: he’s a fighter, yeller, etc. We had to slow down and learn the rules of listening—all of us. Eventually, once I realized what Z-baby was trying to say, I broke it down like this:

Bea and I both have worked jobs in which we were approached as men typically approach attractive women. IE: Heya baybay…lookin good in that uniform. etc. Yet, when we began to out perform the dudes/demonstrate our personalities—both of us being quite silly, fun-loving, yet take charge ladies—they denigrated us. They maybe called us bitches. And, they made us feel as though unless we are capable of acting like beautiful objects rather than real, hard-working people, then we weren’t fit to be women.

Can you see how Zorn would have interpreted that? He’s right in saying that our sample of men was small, that we might have made it sound as though all men are bad/denigrate women. But, here’s how I rationalize mine and Bea’s experience:

We live in a house. And, in the house, there are some things ok for women to do, and some things ok for men to do. Because we’ve been living in the house so long, it’s a little engrained in us to just naturally do these things. That’s called gender. While some people are perfectly okay performing the tasks assigned to them, others don’t understand the house. Others don’t see the reason for the house. There’s such a beautiful sky out tonight. When women (and men) cross the gender line, no one knows how to react to them. Women doing what was traditionally men’s work have to be framed by men in the only way they have ever learned to interact with women. Thus they are often sexualized. But if they can’t dig that, men don’t know what to do—especially if the woman does the job better. In this way, women (and men crossing lines) get compartmentalized and labeled bitches (or fags.)

So, how do we change that?

The fact of the matter is, a lot of people don’t care. Even women. It’s easier to make something from a box. To use a stencil. It’s less time consuming.

But, for those with qualms, those made uneasy in the shadowy recesses of the house, I suggest certainty. I mean, if you’re off put by gender expectations, then you have to seriously commit to living your life outside the box. Make yourself an example. I’m not saying you can’t be a mama. I’m not saying you can’t be the toughest, hairiest, Paul Bunyonesque dude ever. It’s more about support. Don’t laugh at jokes about women, or sexy queers, or racism. Be prepared to address supervisors who are not acting appropriately. Be prepared to start a million small fires.

That’s how you burn a house to the ground.

Baby Boomers & Hipsters: It’s How You Face the Music that Counts; or Maybe Hipster isn’t the Right Word.

5 Jul

Heya, quirky sweethearts.

Most of you reading this fall into that age gap where you remember Harriet the Spy and probably read Ramona books growing up. And, it might seem silly, but I want to start off this post asking you to fish through your memories, sift through your parent’s stories, your grandparent’s stories, and tell me what consumerism looked like from the baby boomer perspective and forward. I mean, post WWII folks consumed more butter than Paula Deen, they bought new furniture, new clothes, cars, houses, etc. Being young meant making a path for yourself in the world, a highway scattered with the flora and fauna of Fridgidaire and Ford.

take take take, eh?

And now, when faced with their past decisions, the baby boomers have begun to question their legacy. Forbes magazine conducted a poll back in 2009 asking the boomers what they believed their legacy to be—and just under half responded, “Ushering in an era of consumerism and self-indulgence.” However, the author of the article makes sure to point out the disparity in the era of the boomers. While other decades were united by massive events such as WWII and the Depression, boomers were divided by “Incendiary topics including the Vietnam War, civil rights, women’s liberation, sexual freedom and drugs.”

 

It’s also important to note the spread of media at this point in time. Look at the way marketing advanced and TV audiences became the prime targets of ads promoting consumerism. In putting all these things together, I wonder if this generation’s stratification and social climbing was a side effect of rampant acknowledgement and fear of differences coupled with television’s ingenuity. Do you see how purchasing the same goods as the people you respect makes you respectable—read, one of them? Then you can see how consumerism became a way in which people climbed social ladders both allying themselves with those they desired to represent and distancing themselves from the those  they disliked.

Now, my plan in this essay isn’t necessarily to hate on the hungry dreams of my grandparents. Rather, I’m making a verbal Venn diagram between them and myself. I’ve come to realize that I want to understand individual motivation and how that translates into social change or even large scale lifestyle movements. I mean, the Forbes article goes on further to explain the poll by breaking its pool down into demographics. This complicates the idea of most boomers being obsessed with commercial behavior and upward movement. The author points out that women and people of color tended to respond by choosing the more positive legacy option: “Helping to bring lasting change in social and cultural values and ending a war.”

seriously? I can only imagine being a woman in the 60’s and seeing this. Incendiary is right.

This probably seems like a convoluted break-down of an easy topic. But, I wanted to work through it because I’ve become interested in the lifestyle of the modern hipster, who falls into such a category, and what they are doing for the world. It’s not as unrelated as it seems.

Continue reading

This Lady:

26 Jun

Kelly Oxford. My my my.

Image

Did I mention she’s bangin’?

She’s got a lot to say and has been saying it for years and encourages others to say say say. I appreciate that. I appreciate her twitter feed, blog, etc. But mostly, today, I’ve discovered that I appreciate her drive. Read this.

Here’s a quote to get you started:

“Write.
Write and write and fucking write and when you think you’re done and you hate everything you are writing you are almost halfway there. You’d better enjoy writing a LOT because that’s all you are going to be doing for the rest of your days if you want to make a living at it.
24/7… it’s writing. 
It’s that Sunday night before a Monday when your book report is due and you haven’t begun your opening paragraph—-Every. Single. Day.”

I gave myself a pregnancy scare gray hair today

25 Jun

Of course I’m not pregant–being a gay lady, those events are usually pretty well planned. But, I have been reading about the abortion debates as this article popped up on my Tumblr feed and made me feel like this:

If you didn’t read the article, here’s a quick synopsis:

Two female, democratic lawmakers were banned from speaking on the house floor for remarks they made a day prior.

The lawmakers, Rep. Lisa Brown (West Bloomfield) and Rep. Barb Byrum (Onondaga) of Michigan, were silenced after using appropriate medical terms—vagina, and vasectomy (GASP!)—during their turns on the floor. In a heated dialogue regarding an anti-abortion bill, Brown remarked, “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina, but no means no.” While Byrum’s comments were not as incendiary, she spoke out of turn after being continually ignored. Her outburst was described as a “temper tantrum” by Ari Adler, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Jase Bolger (R-Marshall). Which reminds me acutely of an instance in one of my classes in which I rebutted a man’s argument that women are less valuable workers, “Because they take maternity leaves.” As my hand shot into the air, he had the nerve to say (and loudly), “And now the claws come out!” He pigeonholed me in a way that I despise. Would a man have claws? Would a man throw a temper tantrum?

Alder also commented saying that the women were not being silenced for anything regarding gender but rather for their “behavior.” Byrum can’t help feeling otherwise. In a quote pulled from the Huffington post she says, “There have been physical altercations between at least two men on the House floor, and I don’t recall any of them every being banned from speaking. It’s just unacceptable to silence women when we’re talking about women’s reproductive rights.”

Here’s where it might be appropriate to say:

Even Libba Bray (childhood idol and author of A Great and Terrible Beauty) cast her net in 140 characters, saying, “OMG, y’all! I was, like, gonna do some shit today, but then I remembered I have a VAGINA, so I’d better stay home. Bummer. #WombWithoutAView

I think this whole #WombWithoutAView should be trending. I mean, look at the visibility of women who get abortions, key words: who aren’t defamed by conservative press. But on the flip side, after reading a powerful essay by Aubrey Hirsch on the Rumpus, I wonder about the whole visibility thing. I mean, the feminist portion of the pro-choice movement is pushing for women’s right to control their own bodies. To be seen as individuals with power as to the legislation of their most private selves. It seems that in order to have these things, we must put those private selves on display. We have to use words like vagina in order to express our frustration. When our words are limited, it’s even more difficult to explain how and why we feel what we feel, to legitimize those feelings.

Hirsch talks about being a pioneer in the world of pregnancy, describes how her baby will have her last name, how she doesn’t feel the need to wear a wedding band. But, these actions come with an invasion of privacy.

“At my first doctor’s appointment, the student doctor asking me questions looks at my naked left hand, asks, “Was this planned?” I want to ask him if that’s medically relevant, but the power-imbalance of the doctor’s office robs me of my capability for snark. I answer him, but I can’t help thinking I have given him something I did not need to give away.”

In the same way, women speaking for pro-choice accolades often share their private experiences in order to garner support. In doing this, I feel like we fight the battle in a manner that encourages conversation rather than stifles. We do not need a liaison to ban someone from speaking. And, I feel like this is because we have filled our cause with private truths: moments like Hirsch’s doctor’s visit, Byrum’s perseverance, and Brown’s wit. It is rad that these women are using privacy to fight for privacy. They expose themselves in order to one day have the privacy and confidence in their decisions that men have. As Hirsch said in the closing of her essay,

“If this baby is a girl, I am hopeful that things will be different when it’s her turn. That she will read this essay in thirty years and laugh and say, “Mom, you were so crazy.” Because she will feel so in control of her life, her choices, her body, that she won’t be able to imagine a time when any small modicum of control had to be flexed, hoarded, treasured.”

I AM WHISPERING

14 Jun

What is there about negative space that knocks me to the ground? See, what I mean here is: there are about 300 pages of negative space here, on this blog, because we have not been writing. Dear god. Who thought that was a good idea? Or–did we just get lazy? How many of us tried to pretend like this wasn’t important, like our voices weren’t a big deal? Well they are. We chickz, all chickz, are a big deal. Hello, my name is Elysia Smith, and I’m a goddamned, genuine big-fucking-deal.

This is what happened while I was away.

I became a badass (har har)

I cut all my hair off. It’s short, like so much so, I don’t even brush it. Yowza.

Ashley, Ryan, Spencer, and I no longer live together. GASP! It wasn’t like that. They all gradumacated and well, I’m still here–chuggin away at this bottle (I mean, “degree”)

I have decided to attend graduate school when I graduate. Sound’s plausible right? I’m looking at UNO, Brown, UMASS, and The University of Virginia-Charlottesville.

I moved in with my twin sister and her miniature pig. EW. (JK. She’s not so bad)

I attended Bonna-fucking-roo. EE GADS.

waiting in line

 

I fell in love with these musicians: LP, tUnE-yArDs, The Devil Makes Three, Diane Cluck, and Alabama Shakes.

I have published 0 things of merit. I will get on that ASAP.

I contributed to this blog on Renaissance Animal and Human definitions.

And, I’m sure many other things I have left out by choice or by accident. But, the point is, I’ve been learning and growing and leaning into the sun. Who hasn’t been? Let’s talk about Bonnaroo: my goodness. It was my little brother’s graduation present from Dad and I. I have never smelled so bad in my entire life. I met so many rad people and listened to music until sunrise. I slept in a tent. I slept in a car. I got rained on and listened to PHISH. I ate a Crif Dog. Or two. I wrote a poem every day dedicated to the day previous on stolen materials from around the festival. It was the coolest.

So, this is just my re-introductory post. It’s an easy thing. But, I will be posting each week and encouraging the others to hop back on this bus. I hope you all are well or whatever.

 

 

Oh My. I’m Doing This Again…with trepidation

2 Dec

You are so mad at us. You are so mad you want to eat knives and show us your bleeding belly and say, this..this is what you made me do, you damned Chickz. You are so sad you want to chew the hair off our head and swallow it so we will always be with you. forever. You are so happy right now you want to write an epic poem and then make 25 copies, one for each of your best friends.

You are happy now because we are coming back.

Or maybe, I’m projecting. Maybe, I am happy.

Yes. That’s it, dear readers. I am so happy to be here talking, even for a few moments. Even for a breath.

Don’t worry:

Thank You. Ok?

29 Nov

We have failed you, dear readers. I promised we would return to our regular postings, but we haven’t, and that makes me a gross liar. We have been busy bees this fall. School, new jobs, and puppies have filled our time. Sometimes, all I want to do is cuddle and play with this babybabe, Geoff, all day long:

Show me one person who doesn't think this is the cutest pup ever, and I'll show you a liar.

Continue reading

I PRODUCED A MOVIE THIS SUMMER AND IT TOOK OVER MY LIFE BUT NOW I’M BACK AND I’M REMEMBERING HOW TO BREATHE

24 Aug

Speaking of breathing. That’s the theme of my post for today! I’m sorry I’ve been absent for so long but I’m back now, and I’m trying, and I’m so glad you’re not like my puppy who pees on the floor when we leave.

So, I’ve watched this trailer like 30 times the past few days, and I’ll probably watch it few more times because I just. can’t. stop. I know I’m going to love this film. Just from watching the trailer I feel nostalgic for that feeling of falling in love for the first time. The way it wrecks you.  It’s not a deep love but it’s honest– untainted, untamed. I remember crying the first time I realized I was in love, because I didn’t understand how to comprehend the emotions I was feeling. It was a new, selfless love that planted its roots in my chest and squeezed so tight I could barely breath. It’s that feeling I miss sometimes, that virginal realization that you’re all in and you can never go back.

And I don’t miss the person I first fell in love with, but I do miss the person I was. Not really my naivety or innocence, but the kindness and goodness. Someone deserving of everything; someone ready to be loved; a blank, balanced canvas.
 But honestly as much as I think I’d like to feel that way again, I’m glad I don’t. I’ll keep my love that’s been aged and tested because everything is better that way. Because I would rather be with someone (see pic below) who’s my pause button, my deep breath, than someone who takes that breath away.

Hottie husbad, right?

P.S.- this, however, I would let take my breath away. And by that I mean I’d eat so much of it my body would explode. I am not ashamed. yes.

NEW CHICKLITZ BLOG COMING SOON

9 Aug

Keep a lookout! We should be up and running by the end of August.

PEACE AND BLESSINS

^THIS^

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